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Drew Brees: Saint for Small Business Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to their first-ever Super Bowl title. Now he's backing local entrepreneurship and the city's economic revival.

By Jason Daley

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

REUTERS | Sean Gardner

Drew Brees has been the toast of New Orleans ever since the native of Austin, Texas, came to helm the Saints in 2006. The four-time Pro Bowl quarterback kept his team on track in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when many feared the city would lose its NFL franchise and the homeless team played one perpetual road game after another. To top that, Brees led the Saints on a multiyear campaign that culminated in a 2010 Super Bowl ring and a reminder that even the worst crisis couldn't keep down the spirit of the Crescent City.

But Brees wants to be more than just a symbol of the city--he's hoping his support of entrepreneurship can help New Orleans achieve an economic renaissance.

For one thing, he's jumping in as an entrepreneur himself: Brees recently inked a deal to develop the Jimmy John's sandwich franchise in the Big Easy, and his ByU Gear clothing is sold throughout the Gulf, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. And in the last seven years, he's helped the Brees Dream Foundation raise more than $5.5 million to fund charitable causes in his football hometowns of West Lafayette, Ind., (where he played for Purdue University), San Diego (where he started his NFL career with the Chargers) and, of course, New Orleans.